Three Art Openings of Note (and They’re All Free)

Exhibits at Seattle Art Museum, Northwest African American Museum, and Tacoma’s Museum of Glass all have free community opening events this week — and they all look like hits.

Updated 11/29 with exhibition end dates. While openings were free, most other admission dates are not. Note dates and pricing for each show below.  


Seattle Art Museum

It’s hard to remember an arts event with a lineup that looked like this. Tonight’s opening for Flesh And Blood: Italian Masterpieces from the Capodimonte Museum brings together performers ranging from Spectrum Dance Theater dancers (read more about their work here; and “More to See” below, too), to an opera singer (Seattle Opera), and drag performers (Palace Theatre & Art Bar), plus a drawing workshop (Barry Johnson).

This unexpected roster performs alongside another unusual lineup: an academic discussion among a curator, a professor, and a graphic novelist (Gina Siciliano, who interpreted the life and work of great artist Artemisia Gentileschi in comic form in her new book, I Know What I Am) will present The Contemporary Resonance of Artemisia Gentileschi. If Gentileschi’s name rings a bell lately, it should: her work is enjoying something of a renaissance, and Macha Theatre Works just put up a lovely production of Joy McCullough’s Blood Water Paint, a play interpreting Gentileschi’s work and inspirations — hope you caught it. (Read NWT’s review here, and an interview with the playwright and novelist here.)

All of the community opening events are free tonight, starting at 5 pm. RSVP is recommended but not required (lecture tickets are all grabbed up, but there could be last-minute space); info and RSVPs here.

Outside of special events, admission to SAM (with Flesh and Blood admission included) is $30; info here

Exhibition runs through January 26, 2020.  


Northwest African American Museum

NAAM’s newest exhibit, Iconic Black Women: Ain’t I a Woman, is Seattle artist Hiawatha D.’s homage to the power of Black women, via portraits he’s painted of Black women throughout the eras. The opening celebration, with the artist in attendance, is Friday night at 6-8 pm, and is free to the public. See info here. (NAAM will hold a related event, in the Descendent‘s SeriesIda B. Wells and Family Legacy of Determination, Education, & Agitation by Michelle Duster, on 10/24; see info here.)

Outside of special events, admission to NAAM is $7; see info here. Reciprocal membership free for NARM members.

Exhibition runs through March 15, 2020.  


Tacoma Museum of Glass

Who would have thought there’d be an exhibition by all LGBTQ-identifying glass artists (and outside of June, even)? Transparency: An LGBTQ+ Glass Art Exhibition is the nation’s first — and it opens this weekend at the Museum of Glass, located in the museum-saturated area of downtown Tacoma that also includes the Tacoma Art Museum and the Washington State History Museum. The opening celebration on Sunday (12-2 pm) includes free admission, participating artists and curator remarks, along with a DJ, cash bar, and snacks. No RSVP required; info here.

Outside of special events, admission to the Museum of Glass is $17; info here. Low-cost admission for EBT cardholders, and free admission Third Thursdays. Reciprocal membership free for NARM members. 

Exhibition runs through September 2020.  


More to See

The retrospective exhibit Donald Byrd: The America That Is To Be just opened at the Frye Art Museum last week, and it is a must-see. Hallways, walls, and wide-open galleries dance with Byrd’s iconic choreography, his own stage presence through the decades, his imagination through costuming and more, and his vision for what dance — and the country — can be. Dancers from Byrd’s Spectrum Dance Theater also perform in the gallery several times a week; see schedule here. Admission at the Frye is always free. Exhibition runs through January 26, 2020.  

And a show next Friday (10/25) feels something like the end of an era, but it’s likely to be a blast. Kitchen Sessions — which combines Black excellence, visual art, performative arts, camaraderie, food, and booze, and is perhaps my very favorite arts series — will lose founding curator Imani Sims after this month, as she moved to Oakland last year. The Central District Forum for Arts & Ideas will keep the series going; look for the next one, in April next year. Next week’s Session features rock star Eva Walker (a returning Sessions performer, likely best known as lead guitarist/singer in The Black Tones); writer and slam poet Ava Walker; and burlesque artist Mx. Pucks A’Plenty. The $20 show ticket includes food, drinks, and admission to the galleries at Bellevue Arts Museum before the show. Info and tickets here.

See individual links above for event info and locations. Accessibility notes: of locations above, gender-neutral restrooms are available at NAAM and Frye; and all locations are wheelchair accessible.

Chase D. Anderson is Editor & Producer of NWTheatre.org.